Pond management shouldn’t stop during the winter months, although you may be tempted to stay indoors. What can you do to help your pond ecosystem survive the winter and thrive in the new year?
If It Freezes
Oxygen levels can be hugely affected by temperature. With plant activity low and the potential for freezing, winter is the season to take extra steps. Consider installing aeration systems to increase oxygen levels and prevent stratification through mixing. Mixing just references the movement of the water between layers- in the winter the coldest layer will be at the top and the warmest at the bottom, opposite from the warmer months.
If You Feed Your Fish
If you provide supplementary feed for your fish, you should stop when you notice that they are no longer eating. It is important to monitor this so you notice when the feed sticks around. If enough of it decomposes in your pond, it could change your water chemistry and create problems for you in the spring. To avoid wasting any time and money, most fish sit very still at the bottom. They aren’t technically hibernating, but it’s close.
If You Keep Records
Now is the time to go over all of your data, analyze what you can and crunch the numbers. How are your pond statistics changing? Are you producing the amount of fish you need? This could help you create a more efficient pond management plan for next year, tailored specifically to the current needs of your pond. Cozy up to the fire with your spreadsheets, your body of water will appreciate this yuletide thought.
Just as you winterize your home, you should prepare your pond for the hazards of the coldest season. This is especially important if your livelihood depends on it. Your wallet and your fish friends will thank you!